Cocks and Glocks – they CAN coexist

Brian Bensimon, [Students for Concealed Carry] director for the state of Texas, commented, “If carrying a phallus to class helps you express yourself, go for it. We welcome this demonstration that freedom of speech and concealed carry of handguns can coexist on the same campus.”

Today marked the first day of classes at the University of Texas, Austin. As well, today marked the official start of the “Cocks Not Glocks” protest of the recently enacted laws in Texas that permit some level of the carry of a concealed handgun by licensed adults. Apparently some 4000+ fake penises were handed out to whomever wanted them, to carry around campus in protest.

“Take it and come” was their tag line.

Frankly, the whole thing amuses me. I gotta admit it’s kinda clever.

Weird thing tho. That lawsuit brought by those 3 UT professors that claimed permitting guns on campus would stifle free speech? I think passing out 4000+ dildos – in apparent violation of University policy (civil disobedience!) – is pretty demonstrative that if anything the topic of “guns on campus” has generated a LOT of free speech and free expression. I see no stifling here; in fact, I see a lot of creativity!

And I must admit, the original premise of the movement has a solid point (which I think has gotten lost in the the hoopla). They were originally trying to make a point that something’s not right when University policy prohibits someone from bringing a big black (fake) cock on campus, but now Texas law permits one to bring a big black (real) gun on campus. And I agree with their point. The sad part is they don’t seem to see nor make effort towards trying to improve this supposedly progressive University’s puritanical policies.

Wise advice

Once the cops have been called, you don’t need to be running around outside with a gun in your hand. The chances for a blue-on-blue shooting skyrocket in incidences like that. Plainclothes officers get shot all the damn time in similar circumstances. It’s easy to tell who the responding officers are because they show up in a car with blinking lights and they’re all dressed the same. You want to not be on the playing field wearing the other team’s uniform when they show up.

From Tam. Emphasis added.

The way she phrased it is novel and I think really drives the point home.

2016-08-23 training log

Not hot, but alright.

Yesterday wasn’t the best of days. Today was OK. I mean, I hit everything I expected to hit, but I just didn’t feel like setting the world on fire. Could it still be the sleep? The reduced carbs? Or… the kids seem to have come down with something, so could I be starting to get something? Hard to say. Public school systems start up this week, so I do expect the petri-dish-of-fun to be starting. You know… kids all go back to school, germs, no one washes hands, all the kids get sick, bring it home, parents get sick, they take it to the office, and for about the next month everyone is or gets sick to some degree. Hooray for the start of the school year!

But whatever…. just plow through it.

Biggest thing of note was pull-ups. Because of the aforementioned irritation of my teres major (or something in that area), I’m laying off the pull-ups this week. I need to do something, so I actually threw the band over the bar and did band pulldowns. Nothing intensive, but it’s something to give everything a rest and get a little pump in that area to help with recoup. Next week I’m going to try graduating things a bit, doing warm-up-level pulldowns during the main movement, then doing pull-ups during the big assistance movement. We’ll see how that goes for me.

5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template

  • Bench Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 110 x 5 (warmup sets superset with band pull-aparts)
    • 120 x 5
    • 145 x 3
    • 160 x 5 (work sets superset with band pull-downs)
    • 185 x 5
    • 210 x 10
  • Incline Press
    • 110 x 10 (sets superset with band pull-downs)
    • 130 x 10
    • 155 x 10
  • Cable Rows
    • 110 x 20
    • 110 x 20
    • 110 x 12
  • Shrugs
    • 215 x 20
    • 215 x 18
    • 215 x 14
  • V-bar pressdowns (superset with curls)
    • 60 x 20
    • 60 x 18
    • 60 x 14
  • Hammer Curls (alternate, across body)
    • 30e x 20
    • 30e x 15
    • 30e x 10

Alice Cooper – August 21, 2016, Austin Texas

I spent the night with Alice Cooper.

August 21, 2016, Alice Cooper came to Austin, Texas to play the ACL Live Moody Theater as a part of his “Spend the Night with Alice Cooper 2016” tour. It’s 2+ hours of Alice and only Alice, and what a night it was.

It was luck that I got to see the show. Karl had an extra ticket, asked me if I wanted it, and of course I took it. After having seen Alice back with Mötley Crüe 2 years ago, I was always wanting to see a full headlining set from him, so here was my chance. Also very cool? A couple of Karl’s friends also attended. Their first concert/date was seeing Alice, back in 1973. So this was a sort of cool “anniversary” sort of celebration for them, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet them and share in this evening with them.

Winning!

On the way in, Karl was listening to the local rock radio station, KLBJ-FM. They were having a pre-show at the 310 club, which is a club/bar under the Moody Theater. The pre-show was free, and if you attended and had a ticket to the Alice show, you could enter a drawing to win a ticket upgrade (to a suite) or a chance to meet Alice. So after an early dinner we headed to the pre-show and put our names in the drawing.

The pre-show itself was a local band called Bang. It actually was local band Vallejo dressed up with wigs and playing 80’s metal cover tunes. I noticed a bunch of incorrect lyrics were being sung, but as they played on things got better. For sure, the guy can sing (and he really should have sung an L.A. Guns song, like “I Wanna Be Your Man” because his voice would have been perfect for it). Seems like this was just a one-off fun thing they did, and overall it was enjoyable.

After their set, KLBJ did the drawing and…. I won! I won a suite upgrade! Sweet!🙂

Our tickets were on the floor, towards stage right, and wouldn’t have been bad seats. But the suite was up on the mezzanine level, and ultimately provided a better view of the show. The suite itself? Meh. I mean, while we waited for the show to start, the couches were nice and it was cool to chill there, but you couldn’t lounge and watch the show. So we stood, which was fine, and had a great view of the show. Either way, it was cool to have won, for just the cost of attending the pre-show. Thank you KLBJ!

Alice

Karl said it best: it wasn’t a concert, it was a show; almost like a Broadway show.

Whereas in a concert you might play a few songs, then stop and rap with the audience, then intro the next song and so on – that is, it’s just playing songs; this was a show. This was one song after the next, almost no breaks, no “rapping”, just putting on a presentation.

The band was tight. Appears to be the same band I saw him with two years ago. They knew their parts. Highly choreographed, well-rehearsed, and just well presented. Don’t take that as a bad thing: Alice is putting on a show, with props, acting, pyro, and a host of other things and you just can’t pull that off with a winging-it-improve-type set. Plus the band members have to be in the right places so that proper emphasis is given to what needs to be viewed, and they don’t get hurt! There’s a lot going on on stage.

Many good songs played, including pulling out some more obscure tracks as well as the expected hits.

Of course, good prop stuff happened, like “Feed My Frankenstein”, and “Ballad of Dwight Fry” into “I Love the Dead” – guillotine and all. Alice is also playing off the election year with a lot of “Alice Cooper for President” stuff, and even bringing out a couple of his actors in Trump and Hillary get-ups (alas, no guillotine for either of them). Quite well done, and amusing all the way around.

He’s also been doing a set of covers, Hollywood Vampires stuff. “Pinball Wizard”, “Suffragette City”, and “Ace of Spades” – which seemed to feature more of his bassist, which of course was quite appropriate. Just nailed this covers.

Alice might be 68 years old, but you would never know it. High energy, non-stop rock and roll show for 2+ hours. Just tight tight tight, and knocked your socks off. Would see again, and again, and again, and again.

Spending the Night with Alice Cooper, August 21, 2016 Austin, Texas ACL Live Moody Theater

Spending the Night with Alice Cooper, August 21, 2016 Austin, Texas ACL Live Moody Theater

 

2016-08-22 training log

They can’t all be good days.

Today wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the greatest either.

Squatting started out OK, but when I put the 250 on my back, it felt like a ton. Coming out of rep 5, I truly lost balance and took a step forward to regain it. When I got to 8 I just racked it. I probably could have ground out 2 more reps, but why? Things just weren’t going well, it felt so heavy. I was over the required reps so… meh.

Why exactly? Hard to say. I did go see Alice Cooper last night, so I only got a few hours of sleep, and that may be part of it. I also didn’t eat many carbs over the weekend (apart from a couple Miller Lite’s at the show), because I have been bulking too fast and frankly I want to see if I can regress a little in weight.

Whatever tho… it’s what it is. I plan on resting as much as I can today and seeing how the rest of the week goes.

Apart from that tho, the session went fine. I was kinda expecting the deadlifts to peed out as well, but they went pretty strong. So, it was what it was.

5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template

  • Squats
    • bar x whatever
    • 120 x 5
    • 150 x 5
    • 175 x 3
    • 190 x 5
    • 220 x 5
    • 250 x 8
  • Straight-leg Deadlift
    • 160 x 10
    • 190 x 10
    • 220 x 10
  • Leg Curls
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 20
    • 30 x 14
  • Hyperextensions
    • BW x 17
    • BW x 17
    • BW x 15
  • Crunches
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 17
    • BW x 13
  • Standing Calf Raises
    • 50 x 20
    • 50 x 15
    • 50 x 13

Sunday Metal – Red Fang

Red Fang not only makes good music, but they make awesome and hilarious videos.

This is for “Blood Like Cream”

The importance of training, because everything isn’t a nail

I respond with “THERE IS A GUY IN MY CAR AND I’M ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM!”.   The thought….. if this guy is conscious that may provoke response.  I’ve had experience rousting drunks and bums in a former life, and sometimes it takes a real push to get a reaction. They will often play dead just to be left alone

No response from Mr. Dark Lump Dude… except some twitching.

I shut the door, backed up to the porch, and engaged my light while keeping a hand close to my weapon.  A few moments looking, and it’s pretty clear what I am facing. A scruffy guy who was stumbling down the road, and took shelter in the car to sleep off whatever he’s on.  My guess, only slightly educated, would be heroin, alcohol, and weed.

Breath, and back down from Defcon 1 to Defcon 2.

Carteach0 shares with us a recent situation he was involved in. You will want to click through and read the whole thing.

Earlier this month, a friend of mine was in a similar situation. Friend was drifting off to sleep but then heard someone breaking into his truck. Gun was drawn, some yelling, dude took off. No shooting.

Both of these people are well-trained.

And it’s all their training that kept them from shooting. Or rather, that they understood there’s a time to shoot, and that time hadn’t come.

See, a lot of people think that just because people have guns that they will solve all of their problems by shooting. There’s some truth to that, because often when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For sure I see lots of people who only understand things like “shooting”, and consider that the solution. Just read comment threads online and you’ll see this “solution” offered up quite often.

Shooting is certainly an answer, but it’s a very specific answer to a very specific problem.

This is where training comes in, and why training is so important.

Certainly, it’s important to have training in how to shoot. When the flag flies, there will be a lot happening in a little bit of time, and you must make decisive actions quickly. These decisions have massive gravity, and will likely affect the rest of your life and perhaps the lives of others. Thus, you need your brain free to work through those problems, so mechanical matters like “how to shoot (well)” should be something that you can “just do”. That takes training, that takes practice, that takes some level of dedication and discipline to acquire that ability.

Perhaps more importantly, you need to have training in how NOT to shoot. You need to understand how scenarios play out. You have to know the law. You should be aware of human psychology. Concepts like “verbal judo” and “managing unknown contacts” should be tools in your toolbox. You need to have more tools in your toolbox, so when a problem needs solving you don’t just start hammering nails.

What Carteach0 and my friend did, they were able to engage their brains. They disengaged “monkey brain” – “Ooo! Danger! Bash with rock!” – and worked to solve the problem. They were able to think, to consider, to assess the situation as it unfolded and took the best course of action that lead to the best possible outcome.

Without a doubt, this can be attributed to training.

So where can you get such training?

When it comes to legal, people like Massad Ayoob and Andrew Branca have classes and books on the matter.

Classes/material from William Aprill provides great insight into criminal mindset.

Craig “SouthNarc” Douglas is one of the best when it comes to skills like “managing unknown contacts”.

Scenario training (also known as “force-on-force” training) is invaluable at helping you see that everything isn’t a nail, you don’t always solve problems with a hammer, and giving you better insight into how things actually happen. You’ve probably heard how visualization is a powerful learning technique? Scenario training is visualization without the fantasy. There are many out there that provide this sort of training, and my boss-man, Karl Rehn, is one of the pioneers and best at this type of training.

The bottom line?

It’s not enough to purchase a piece of hardware.

It’s not enough to just go to the range or the back pasture and plink a few rounds now and again. Just because you can “drill the bullseye” out in the comfort of a causal range session doesn’t mean you can perform under pressure.

When the flag flies, you don’t rise up, you descend. Thus you need to ensure that even in this descent, you’re still at a high enough level to perform. The two situations above demonstrate that we do descend, but with enough training one can still keep their head above water.

So look at yourself right now and honestly assess yourself: are you at that (higher) level? Have you ever shot a higher-level skills course under time pressures (e.g. the “3M Test“, “3 Seconds or Less“, “Rangemaster Level 5“, FBI Qualification) and been able to pass it cold, on-demand, consistently? Have you found yourself in potentially bad situations during daily life and been at a loss as for how to solve the problem?  It’s not a time for ego or delusion folks – your life depends on honest answers. And if you’re not, start making your plans now to improve.

2016-08-19 training log

Another day, another PR. But the good wasn’t without some bad.

Press has been the hardest movement for me to progress on, but I am making progress. I hit 150 for 8 reps today, which is a 8RM PR. And with a lifetime 1RM of 165, I feel pretty confident I could exceed that right now. So I’m getting stronger, which makes me happy (positive progress towards my goals). It’s also interesting for me to reflect on how during my big defatting project, I lost a lot of strength in my squat and deadlift, but only a little in my pressing (bench or overhead). And my pressing strength has come back faster. Not entirely sure what to attribute it to, but here we are.

I think that I may be finding a better setup approach. So that whole dizzy/light-headed thing while pressing, I tried it again today that just before I unrack the bar I take a mostly-full breath and go from there. I also found if I exhale on the press (after about halfway up), that helped a lot too. Breathe at the top, and kinda just let my body do what it needs to do — instead of pure Valsalva, allow myself to breathe as I press. For sure this is helping. I still think I can refine it, e.g. maybe I take a full breath but let it out as I press. Because for certain, the less-than-full-breath doesn’t allow me to start off as strong as I need to. But I’ll take a little less strong over passing out.🙂 Anyways, this is a good sign so far, but I’ll have to keep playing with it.

As for the bad….

Something in my back is hurting. I can’t say exactly what, but it seems my Teres Major or thereabouts. It happens when I do pull-ups (or chin-ups, whatever). That first set, that first rep, it just hurts. After I do a few, after I get warm, no real issues. But it remains pretty sore. It was pretty bad today, so much that I only did like 3 reps per set and even dropped the last set entirely. I also cut my back work in half, just something to get a little work, a little pump/blood in the area, but not to stress anything.

I am pretty sure the problem is because I hit it with the pull-ups pretty cold. That’s 200+ lb. to suddenly pull, and it just has grown to hate it. I say this because it’s always on the first rep, first set, and over the sets things feel better.

What to do about it? I’m not sure.

My current thinking is next week no pull-ups at all — just do more band pull-aparts (to keep with a pulling movement between each set of pressing; and that doesn’t really stress the teres major much). Just give things a rest. See how I feel at the end of next week. If I need it, do this rest/deload on it another week. Just take it as it comes.

But then when I get back to it, my thinking is that I want to try a way of warming-up to it. It’s hard to do warm-ups with bodyweight like that. So my thinkinng is to do the same movement in pulldown form. So like if I’m doing pull-ups, take that same overhand grip, hands same distance apart. During my main movement sets, warm up, maybe pyramiding up — like first set is 100×10, then second is 120×10, third is 140×10 or something. Start light, ease into it, but work up to a little heavier to get used to that. Then during my big-assistance pressing, do actual pull-ups. I’d be curious to see if that might help me — a warm-up into it.

If that doesn’t do it then well, I’ll assess with that new information and go from there. Who knows. I may just have to drop “ups” for a while until things feel better, and do other back work instead.

Anyways, happy for the PR, and will be seeing how things go for my back.

Oh — and the music choice today was spinning the new Metallica track, “Hardwired”, like 10 times in a row. I’m digging it.

5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template

  • Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 65 x 5 (warmup sets superset with band pull-aparts)
    • 80 x 5
    • 95 x 3
    • 120 x 5 (work sets superset with pull-ups)
    • 135 x 3
    • 150 x 8 (8RM PR)
  • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • 140 x 5 (sets superset with pull-ups)
    • 160 x 5
    • 185 x 5
  • V-Bar Pulldowns
    • 110 x 10
    • 110 x 10
    • 110 x 10
  • Face Pulls
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
  • Lying Triceps Extensions (superset with curls)
    • 60 x 20
    • 60 x 18
    • 60 x 14
  • Close-grip EZ-bar Curls
    • 55 x 20
    • 55 x 18
    • 55 x 12

2016-08-18 training log

A PR a day is just… fun.🙂

I think that’s one reason I’ve enjoyed switching back to 5/3/1 – there’s no question setting PR’s (rep PR’s whatever) is motivating and just fun. I haven’t had this much fun lifting in some time.

So deadlifting went well. Main thing I had to focus on for myself was mixed grip. I’ve been forgetting to go mixed grip, which has actually been cool because I’ve been doing well with double-overhand. But I knew it’d be a bit of a stretch today, so I made sure on my first work set to go mixed to get myself used to it again. The only problem I had was about 2/3 of the way through the top set I had to take a moment to reset the grip because of how skin was getting folded up in my palms/fingers. Otherwise, things went well.

And so setting a 10RM PR was quite nice.

Front squats also went well. I continue to work on their technique too, trying to “lean backwards” — not really, but it’s a cue towards helping me keep my torso as vertical as possible, that on the descent I drop down instead of back, etc. Really get what you’re supposed to get out of front squats.

All in all, a good day.

5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template

  • Deadlift
    • 135 x 5
    • 170 x 5
    • 205 x 3
    • 255 x 5
    • 285 x 3
    • 320 x 10 (10RM PR)
  • Front Squat
    • 155 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 205 x 5
  • Elevated Glute Bridges
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 20
  • Twisting Crunches (superset with bridges)
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 20
  • Seated Calf Raises
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 15
    • 35 x 14

Trying to improve my sleep

Lately I’ve been struggling to sleep well.

Why exactly? I’m not sure. Could be getting older. Could be life stress. Could be something I ate. It’s probably a little of each, but whatever the reason the result is the same – I’m not sleeping very well.

However, the past few weeks I’ve seen a measurable improvement.

Naps

Napping doesn’t actually help my sleeping, but it does help my recovery. I’ve found when I get in a nap, even a 20 minute nap mid-day, ultimately I wind up sleeping better because I have a better (less cranky) attitude towards getting enough sleep (or rather, when I don’t get enough). Naps are good.

Not waking until it’s time to get up

This is a big one.

Many years ago I used to wake up with the sunrise, or rather, I woke up when I woke up. This was great and I was always rested. Then a few years ago I had to adopt a different schedule, an alarm clock was necessary. And while I don’t strictly need the alarm clock any more, I still keep it because it’s been a rhythm, especially because it keeps me going to the gym in the mornings. I find that works best for me.

And while I’m an extremely early riser, it still sucks to wake up too early. You’ve done this. You don’t need to wake up until 5 AM, but you wake up and it’s 2 AM and you can’t get back to sleep. Or worse, it’s 11:30 PM — which is extra annoying because it’s not even the next day yet! This has been the big problem plaguing me the past many months, waking up too early. Over time that means less and less sleep every night.

A few weeks ago I made a change.

I told myself “Look, you set the alarm for 4:00 AM – if the alarm hasn’t gone off, it’s not yet 4 AM, so go back to sleep”. Don’t get up, don’t look at the clock, don’t anything but just continue to lie in bed. Even if you’re awake, still lie there and rest. The alarm will go off when it’s time, and THEN you can get up and on with it.

This has made a HUGE difference. I still find myself having some sort of waking-up before the alarm goes off, but now I don’t bother with it. Recently it’s become more of like a half-sleep: I’m somewhat aware that I’ve woken up, that the alarm hasn’t yet gone off, but for sure I’m not wide awake. I have dreams, I am aware and remember them, and when the alarm goes off, THEN I get up.

For sure this has helped on two levels. First, I’m just getting more rest/sleep. Second, I’m not caring that it’s early and getting frustrated and upset about having yet another night of less sleep.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock

I saw some people talking about this app, Sleep Cycle. I talked with them about it, and thought I’d give it a try.

I’ve only been using it about a week.

Honestly, I can’t tell if it’s really monitoring my sleep, if it’s really making a proper qualitative measure of my sleep quality.

But what I do know it’s doing? It’s tracking my sleep – at least when I go to bed, and when I wake up. Looking back on the past week, that level of tracking has made me care about my hours a bit more AND be more aware of my hours.

For example, I might get in bed by 8-ish, but not really get to sleep until 9 (reading or whatever). That adds up – or rather subtracts – a substantial portion of rest. Over time, the cumulative effects are not good.

So being able to fully track this and see how much sleep I’m (not) getting at night has been a big help. The past few days I’ve found myself making more of a concerted effort to get to bed AND to sleep sooner. Couple that with waiting for the alarm clock, and the past couple nights have been some of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.

In fact, last night apparently there were huge thunderstorms, woke everyone in the house up, but I had no idea. I’m the only one that woke up refreshed.🙂

I’ll take that.

So anyways, it’s still early. I have no idea if this Sleep Cycle app will help, but so far it seems useful (and I love all the data and graphs) so I’ll keep at it for now. And I certainly will keep with staying “asleep” until the alarm goes off. Throw in a little nap every now and again, and I hope to be back on track soon.